What would Holmes say?

September 18, 2007

Bret Stephens looks at the unusual silence from both Damascus and Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Israeli air-raid nearly two weeks ago and argues that silence speaks volumes:

What’s beyond question is that something big went down on Sept. 6. Israeli sources had been telling me for months that their air force was intensively war-gaming attack scenarios against Syria; I assumed this was in anticipation of a second round of fighting with Hezbollah. On the morning of the raid, Israeli combat brigades in the northern Golan Heights went on high alert, reinforced by elite Maglan commando units. Most telling has been Israel’s blanket censorship of the story–unprecedented in the experience of even the most veteran Israeli reporters–which has also been extended to its ordinarily hypertalkative politicians. In a country of open secrets, this is, for once, a closed one.


More questions will no doubt be raised about the operational details of the raid (some sources claim there were actually two raids, one of them diversionary), as well as fresh theories about what the Israelis were after and whether they got it. The only people that can provide real answers are in Jerusalem and Damascus, and for the most part they are preserving an abnormal silence. In the Middle East, that only happens when the interests of prudence and the demands of shame happen to coincide. Could we have just lived through a partial reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor? On current evidence, it is the least unlikely possibility.

(Emphasis added.)

I imagine that, if one were to ask Sherlock Holmes, he would arch an eyebrow, puff on his pipe, and refer cryptically to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

Sign of progress?

September 18, 2007

Emergency wards in Baghdad aren’t nearly as busy as they used to be, a strong indirect indicator that the "surge" is working:

A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full.

Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.

Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.

I’m sure the major mainstream media will be all over this story.

Wanna buy a bridge, too?

(hat tip: Blue Crab Boulevard)

LINKS: More at Captain’s Quarters.

Religion of Tolerance, unless you try to quit: one in a series

September 18, 2007

From UK television, an investigative report on the violence facing Muslims in Britain who try to leave Islam:


(hat tip: LGF)